Jaguar Mark 1

From Ford Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jaguar Mark 1
MHV Jaguar 2.4 1955 01.jpg
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
37,397 produced[1]
PredecessorJaguar 1½ Litre saloon
SuccessorJaguar Mark 2
Body style(s)Saloon
Engine(s)2483 cc XK I6
3442 cc XK I6
Transmission(s)4-speed manual
4-speed manual + overdrive
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase107.5 in (2731 mm)[2]
Length181 in (4597 mm)[2]
Width66.75 in (1695 mm)[2]
Height57.25 in (1454 mm)[2]
ManualsService Manual

The Jaguar Mark 1 was a saloon car produced by Jaguar between 1955 and 1959. Referred to in contemporary company documentation as the Jaguar 2.4-litre and Jaguar 3.4-litre, the word "Saloon" was often added. The designation "Mark 1" was included retrospectively on its replacement by the Mark 2. The 2.4-litre was the company's first "small" saloon since the demise of its 1½ Litre cars in 1949 and were an immediate success, easily outselling the larger Jaguar saloons.

Although having a family resemblance to the larger Mark VII, it differed in many ways. Most importantly, it was the first Jaguar with unitary construction of body and chassis. The car's independent front suspension featured double wishbones, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar. The front suspension subframe was mounted on the body by rubber mounts. The live rear axle was positively located by quarter elliptic leaf springs, trailing arms and a Panhard rod in a manner reminiscent of the Jaguar D-type, being a significant improvement over the other saloons and XK sports cars. The rear wheel track was some 4.5 in (114 mm) narrower than the front track and looked peculiar from behind, a feature that was blamed (probably incorrectly) for excessive understeer[1] at low speed. It was reported to be better balanced at higher speeds.

The interior was of similar design to the contemporary Jaguar saloons and sports cars, with most of the dials and switches being located on the central dashboard between the driver and passenger. This arrangement reduced the differences between LHD and RHD versions.

Although its side profile was very different from that of previous Jaguars, the side window surrounds and small rear window are reminiscent of Jaguar Mark IV saloons. The small rear quarter-light windows of the Mark 1 and 2 became a trademark of Jaguars of the 1950s and 1960s, and can still be seen as a design cue in the 'retro' styled S-Type and X-Type saloons of the recent range.

At launch the car had 11.125 in (283 mm) drum brakes but from the end of 1957 got the innovative (at the time) option of disc brakes on all four wheels.

Initially, the Mark 1 was offered with a 2.4 litre, 112 bhp, short-stroke version of the XK120's twin-cam six-cylinder engine, but from 1957 the larger and heavier 3.4 litre 210 bhp unit already used in the larger Jaguars also became available, largely in response to pressure from US Jaguar dealers. Wire wheels became available. The 3.4 had a larger front grille, a stronger rear axle, and rear wheel covers (spats) were cut away to accommodate the wire wheels' spinners. In Autumn 1957 a three speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission became available with either engine. From 1957 the 2.4 also got the larger grille. The car was available in Standard or Special Equipment versions with the former lacking rev counter, heater (available as an option), windscreen washers, fog lights and cigarette lighter. Both versions did however have leather upholstery and polished walnut trim. 19,992 of the 2.4 and 17,405 of the 3.4 litre versions were made.[1]


3.4-litre saloons competed successfully in many rallies, touring car, and saloon car races, notable drivers including Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorne, Tommy Sopwith, and Roy Salvadori.[3]


A 2.4-litre saloon with overdrive was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956. It was found to have a top speed of 101.5 mph (163.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 14.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of Template:Convert/foutmig (Template:Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £1532 including taxes. [2]

They went on to test a 3.4-litre automatic saloon in 1957. This car had a top speed of 119.8 mph (192.8 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.2 seconds and a fuel consumption of Template:Convert/foutmig (Template:Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £1864 including taxes of £622. [4]

A manual overdrive version of the 3.4-litre was tested by The Autocar in June 1958. Its 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time was 9.1 seconds, and 0-100 mph (160 km/h) in 26 seconds, little more than 1 second behind the XK150 with the same engine. [5]

Mark 1 and 2 differences

Both technically and in appearance, Mark 1s differ in numerous respects from their more familiar successor, the Mark 2.

From the front, the most obvious differences are the sidelight position and shape, and the radiator grille: the Mark 2's grille being split vertically by a thicker single chrome bar.

The early Mark 2 had foglamps either side of the radiator grille, where the Mark 1 had only circular grilles.

The Mark 2's side and rear windows were enlarged and redesigned, with chrome frames along the lines of the large saloons, transforming the look of the car.

All Mark 2s were fitted with Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels as standard. Quick change brake pads were incorporated. Splash plates fitted behind the disks keep the Mark 2's brakes dry, avoiding the need to keep the disks hot on very wet roads. A small round badge depicting a triangle shape in red with the word 'Dunlop' across the middle appeared in the centre of the rear bumper on all Mark 2s, originally added to warn drivers following the cars of their greater stopping power. The notoriously ineffective handbrake of the disk braked Mark 1 was upgraded with a self-adjusting mechanism.

The Mark 2's rear suspension track was increased so that the rear wheels fitted the wheel arches more closely, improving the cars' appearance significantly.

The Mark 2's front suspension was revised in detail, changing its geometry, reducing understeer, and improving maintainability.

The Mark 2 was also available with the recently enlarged 3.8 Litre XK engine in twin carburettor form.

The Mark 2's dashboard and steering wheel were completely redesigned, the main instruments being placed in front of the driver where previously there had been an open compartment.

Compared with Mark 1's, the Mark 2's with the same engine and transmission were heavier by over 110 lb (50 kg), and not as fast. For example, the manual overdrive 3.4 Mark 2 was more than 7 seconds behind the comparable Mark 1 to 100 mph (160 km/h). The manual overdrive 3.8 Mk 2 made up the deficit, being about 1 second ahead of the 3.4 Mark 1 to 100 mph (160 km/h) and having a maximum speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), about 5 mph (8.0 km/h) faster. [6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Robson, Graham (2006). A-Z British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge & Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "The Jaguar 2.4 litre". The Motor. July 25 1956. 
  3. Skilleter, Paul & Whyte, Andrew: Jaguar Saloon Cars. Haynes (1980), ISBN 0-85429-263-2
  4. "The Jaguar 3.4-litre". The Motor. April 10 1957. 
  5. Skilleter, Paul & Whyte, Andrew: Jaguar Saloon Cars. Haynes (1980), ISBN 0-85429-263-2, page 234
  6. Skilleter, Paul & Whyte, Andrew: Jaguar Saloon Cars. Haynes (1980), ISBN 0-85429-263-2, pp 556-561

Other sources

Schrader, Halwart: Typenkompass Jaguar – Personenwagen seit 1931, Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart (2001), ISBN 3-613-02106-4

Stertkamp, Heiner: Jaguar – die komplette Chronik von 1922 bis heute, 2. Auflage, Heel-Verlag, (2006) ISBN 3-89880-337-6

Skilleter, Paul & Whyte, Andrew: Jaguar Saloon Cars. Haynes (1980), ISBN 0-85429-263-2

External links